By Emily Sampl//Contributor | Wednesday, September 18, 2019
The Marlins of Raleigh swim team in Raleigh, North Carolina has once again achieved the highest level of recognition amongst USA Swimming clubs, placing 11th overall in the 2019 Club Excellence program rankings to earn gold medal status for another year.
Last year, the team finished fifth overall and in 2017 they finished in the runner-up position.
This summer, the team finished first overall in the men’s meet, third in the women’s meet and took home the combined team title at the Futures Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Head coach Paul Silver provides a closer look into the team’s secret to success in this week’s Club Excellence Spotlight.
How does Club Excellence fit into your team goals each year?
We have achieved gold the past three years and are very proud of the hard work our athletes and coaches have put in to accomplish Club Excellence recognition. We include the Club Excellence standards in our senior elite group goal packets, which give them targets other than just qualifying for nationals.
What are three reasons behind your team’s success this year?
1. Athletes. Our swimmers are very willing to work hard for their goals. They all know coming into the top groups at each site that hard work helps you achieve goals. They are loud and very enthusiastic both in practice and meets. That enthusiasm allows them to celebrate the victories as well as get through the tough times in a practice or a meet. They are all very supportive of each other and happy for each other's success which I think is unique in a multi-site club. Having traveled together to a summer travel meet since they were age groupers helps them become one team.
2. Staff. We are fortunate to have a very passionate staff that loves seeing young people achieve. We recognize that there will be setbacks along the way and our job is to help the kids become resilient and pick themselves back up. Our age group coaches celebrate the successes as well since they are an integral part of the process, having taught proper technique and developing competitive spirit in their swimmers. It is amazing to see the emotions when our graduating seniors give their senior speeches and recognize their age group coaches.
3. Culture and Tradition. It is a dynamic team environment with everyone pulling in the same direction. In addition, swimmers expect to qualify for senior nationals and go on to swim in college; we have over 50 swimming in college right now. We had 13 at the 2016 Olympic Trials and regularly have multiple scholastic All-Americans, as school is very important to these goal-oriented athletes.
What is one team goal you're focusing on for the upcoming 2019-2020 season?
We just want to help each swimmer get better. Whether that is relishing in a nine year old doing a flip turn for the first time, an age grouper improving their technique that allows them to make their first A time and get to go on the travel trip or having swimmers qualifying for the 2020 US Olympic Trials. Developing a process for success in swimming will help them succeed later in life.